Truck Loaded Onto Ferry

A truck is loaded onto the ferry Martha’s Vineyard.

A petition article on the November Town Meeting warrant is looking to regulate noise pollution caused by truck traffic.

The article, submitted by the Southeast Massachusetts Regional Transportation (SMART) Citizens Task Force, asks the town to study the impact noise has on residential neighborhoods in Falmouth that border commercial zones and create a bylaw to prohibit commercial vehicles on town-owned roads from 11 PM to 6 AM. If approved by Town Meeting, the town would develop a quiet hours bylaw by July 1, 2022.

“Our belief is that town residents have a right to a good night’s sleep,” said Nathaniel S. Trumbull, co-founder of the task force. “The town is not protecting that right.”

The idea for a quiet hours law was born out of the 5:30 AM Steamship Authority freight boat that leaves Woods Hole during the summer and fall. Each year, the Authority board approves the summer schedule, including the early freight run, despite vocal opposition from residents and neighbors, one of them being Mr. Trumbull. He brought up the idea of prohibiting trucks on Woods Hole roads in the early morning to curb noise and traffic caused by the trucks carrying freight to Martha’s Vineyard.

However, he said after hearing from people in other parts of Falmouth, including village residents of North and West Falmouth and along Quissett Avenue, they decided a bylaw should apply throughout the town.

“We are not singling out any one entity; rather the goal is to provide relief to all residential neighborhoods,” he said.

Other communities have quiet hours bylaws, he said, and the details of how Falmouth’s bylaw should be written still needs to be ironed out, including how or if it can apply to Route 28, which is a state road, and whether it would affect commercial garbage collection.

“We are trying to find a happy medium, as the town is transitioning from rural to more of a suburban, and even urban, place.”

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